Author: Tracy

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch

Posted July 11, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
A Beginner's Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
Series: Scandalous Brides #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

All of London is abuzz with the return of the utterly alluring, recently widowed Diane Benchley. Will she remarry? What will she do with her late husband’s fortune? Society is shocked by her announcement—at the Grand Ball, of all places!—that she plans to open an exclusive gentleman’s gaming club in the family mansion. But no one is more stunned than the Marquis of Haybury, Oliver Warren.

Years ago, Oliver and Diane shared a private indiscretion. Now Diane threatens to reveal Oliver’s most ungentlemanly secrets…unless he agrees to help her. A notorious gambler—and rake—Oliver is overqualified to educate Diane in the ways and means of running her establishment. But striking a deal with Diane might just be the biggest risk Oliver has ever taken. This time, the only thing he has to lose is his heart…

Diane Benchley wants to get back what she feels was taken from her and that was a decent life with a husband who wasn’t a complete ass. Her husband died but left her penniless and in a ton of debt because of his gambling. Diane took up with Oliver very quickly thereafter but he up and ran out on her without a word. Now Diane is back in London and looking to start a Gentleman’s Club that is run strictly by women. Her backer falls dead but she has something on Oliver and blackmails him into helping her with the money she needs.

Oliver isn’t sure what he thinks about this “new” Diane. She knows her mind and isn’t going to put up with anything from Oliver – including suggestions about the club. In fact she hates him. He can understand why but when he realizes that she holds his heart he’s determined to do anything he can to get the woman he loves to see him as a man and not just a bank.

Diane has her hands full getting the club running and keeping her former brother-in-law from taking her to court to prove that the house that the gentleman’s club is in is actually legally his and not hers.

This was a pretty interesting book but I had a couple of issues with it. While I really liked the thought of Diane starting the club I really didn’t get to know Diane all that well. We definitely got more thoughts from Oliver than Diane. Also, because so much of the book was focused on getting the club up and running I thought that the romance suffered for it.

I very much liked Oliver and I thought his part in the book was really good but I just didn’t see Diane falling for him. She did, in the end, but I just didn’t feel like she had completely forgiven her for her part in their past.

Like I said, the setting up of the gentleman’s club was quite well done. With Diane’s former b-i-l making waves the plot to get him to stop was pretty clever and I very much enjoyed watching that unfold.

So while I thought the book was very good it was pretty light on the romance, imho. I did read the excerpt from the next book and it sounds quite good as well – can’t wait to read it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Scandalous Brides

four-stars


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Guest Review: Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino

Posted May 24, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Blind Kiss by Renee CarlinoReviewer: Tracy
Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross, Sebastian York
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 319
Length: 7 hours and 44 minutes
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two-stars

A powerful story of two people who spend years denying their scientifically-proven chemistry.

Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio... Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.

The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.

For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection."

So…have you ever read a book and you kept thinking to yourself, “I need to stop reading this!” over and over again?  I have, and it’s definitely not a fun experience.  This book was like that.  It was like a car accident that you just couldn’t look away from – horrible, yet you just had to see what was happening.

In this story we start in present day with Penny who is a 35-year-old woman who was once planning on being a dancer.  She now sits out in front of her old dance studio that turned into a Subway in hopes of talking to the building manager about renting the space when the lease runs out on the Subway.   Her best friend of 14 years, Gavin, comes up and tells her that he’s moving to France with his girlfriend.  Thus begins the flashbacks of how Gavin and Penny met and their tumultuous relationship throughout the years.

Penny and Gavin met when they were each talked into doing a blind kiss for a psychology study.  Their chemistry is off the charts and almost immediately they are practically inseparable.  Penny, however, tells Gavin that she can only be friends with him.  Between her studies and her dancing, she can’t concentrate on a romantic relationship and asks him to wait until graduation.  He agrees, even though he wants Penny for his own.  By the time they graduate, Gavin is dating someone else but longing for Penny, Penny is injured and won’t dance again, and then soon after that she’s pregnant and getting married to someone else.

Fourteen fucking years go by with Gavin and Penny stating they’re just friends but yet acting like a couple in every instance except taking that final step.  No, no kissing or screwing, but they spoon and touch and tell each other just about everything, including that they love each other – just as friends, of course. Please – don’t insult my intelligence.  The story revolves around their lives and the non-stop angst of their relationship and the changes it goes through.

This story was a mess!  I have to hand it to Carlino – she wrote the book in such a way that I felt like I needed to keep reading to find out how the shit show that was Gavin and Penny turned out. That fact actually earned this book an extra star, which is sad, really.

The story was about Penny and Gavin’s lives and families as well so there were a few secondary characters in the book.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to know any of them very well so it was mainly focused on Gavin and Penny.

The story is told in a series of flashbacks and I found that annoying.  I didn’t really like Penny at all and wasn’t a huge fan of Gavin’s either.  I thought he could have grown some balls over the years, but that didn’t happen.  On top of not liking the story, I was hoping that I would at least get a great ending with Gavin and Penny getting together.  Didn’t happen.  They did get together, but the ending was a farce and completely rushed. It actually shouldn’t have surprised me that is was bad, but it did.

Overall I disliked this book, obviously, and don’t recommend it.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

two-stars


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Guest Review: The Trouble with Vampires by Lynsay Sands

Posted May 21, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Trouble with Vampires by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Tracy
The Trouble With Vampires by Lynsay Sands
Series: Argeneau #29
Also in this series: Immortal Ever After (Argeneau #18), Runaway Vampire, Immortal Nights, Immortal Unchained, Twice Bitten
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 380
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

For close to three thousand years the imposing, impossibly handsome Santo Notte has fought in armies across the world and battled his own, more personal enemies. Of all the places he might expect to encounter his life mate, a quiet corner of upstate New York doesn’t seem likely. But as soon as he makes contact with history professor Petronella Stone, while hunting down a suspected rogue immortal, he knows that she will be the greatest adventure of his eternal life.

He expects her to be surprised, confused, even overwhelmed. What he doesn’t expect is that Pet has a secret history of her own. There’s no mistaking the mind-blowing, mutual pleasure they share. But as Pet struggles to protect her nephew from a danger lurking too close to home, Santo realizes there’s another threat to her safety—him. And claiming their passionate future will be impossible until he leaves his past behind, forever…

Petronella is babysitting her nephew when someone tries to break into her sister’s house.  She is saved by the guests staying at the house next door, but she recognizes them as immortals and doesn’t trust them at all.  What she really doesn’t expect is that the immortal named Santo would really be someone she fell in love with.

The immortals are at the house next door because they have followed a rogue vampire to a house on that street. When Santo can’t “read” Pet he’s shocked that he’s finally found his life-mate.  He’s even more shocked when he finds out that she knows about immortals.  Unfortunately the only experience she’s had with immortals is bad.  It takes some time to convince Pet that not all immortals are evil like the ones she experienced and that he can protect her and his nephew from the rogue.  What he can’t do is woo her properly because he has no experience.  He may fumble his way through but Santo finally wins the girl.

This was a cute story in the Argeneau series.  I liked the fact that Pet knew about immortals – even though she didn’t have all the facts.  Some things needed to be explained to her but for the most part she was in the know.  This was something different in the series and I liked that.  Santo and Pet were cute together.  I liked how protective they both were of her young nephew.

What I didn’t care for in this book, and what shocked me, was how dark a part of it was.  I’ve never read a Sands book that has dark undertones, and I truly don’t want to again.  It not only described the horrible way in which Pet’s sister & mother died, which was absolutely horrible, but then it went onto Santo and how his entire family was murdered.  OMG, both stories were horrific, but getting both in one book? No, thank you.  I read Sands because I know I’m going to get light romance – that was not this book and I didn’t care for it.

Except for those two parts of the book the rest was pretty light and I liked it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Argeneau

three-stars


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Guest Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

Posted May 20, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Highland Crown by May McGoldrick
Series: Royal Highlander #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 312
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Inverness, 1820Perched on the North Sea, this port town―by turns legendary and mythological―is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.

WANTED: Isabella DrummondA true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery―and fury―in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.

FOUND: Cinaed MackintoshCast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself. . .until Isabella saved his life―and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?

Isabella Drummond is a surgeon, married to a doctor.  They had lived in Edinburgh for six years and had a stable if unexciting life.  Her husband, Archibald, was a reformer, however and when it came down to a day of strikes, he was killed and Isabella ran for her life with her sister and her step-daughter.  She was now being pursued by soldiers who think that she was part of her husband’s radical dealings, and the people in charge of the group of reformers were after her as well so she won’t tell the authorities any information.

When the book opens Isabella is in northern Scotland at a small cottage with a woman who is none too happy for her to be there.  Isabella was helped by her friend Sir Walter Scott who then implored his solicitor to help.  The woman was the solicitor’s aunt.  Isabella’s sister and step-daughter had gone with the solicitor to book passage on a ship to America.  The small town on the shore where she is staying is a rough one.  The villagers gather any items from ships that wreck on the rocks and shoot any survivors so they can’t argue about it.  Nice.  This happens when Isabella is there and she ends up saving one of the men who is the captain of a ship.  When a villager finds out about the man and Isabella they end out having to leave the cottage and take the aunt with them.

They end up fighting for their lives while staying with a relative of the man they saved, Captain Cinaed Mackintosh, but in order to do so they have to act like man and wife.  After just a short period of time together they fall in love but Isabella is unwilling to bring Cinaed into her troubles even though he’s already knee-deep in them.  The pair have to save themselves as well as Cinaed’s relative and decide if they want to leave for America or stay and fight for their country.

This was a good story that I enjoyed.  I’m not normally a fan of country politics in my romances but I have to say this one was well done.  I did think that the H/h fell in love way too fast for me, but I considered the year and went with it. Lol

I loved the fact that Isabella was a doctor/surgeon.  Everyone looked at her funny when she helped others, but she was so good at what she did. I loved that McGoldrick made her a doctor, rather than just a wife who was running for her life.

Because of the politics I’m not sure I’ll read further in the series. That said, I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good Scottish historical romance with some political intrigue.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Highland Wolf by Hannah Howell

Posted April 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Highland Wolf by Hannah HowellReviewer: Tracy
Highland Wolf by Hannah Howell
Series: Murray Family #15
Also in this series: Highland Groom, Highland Devil (Murray Family #22)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Annora MacKay senses a disturbing evil in Dunncraig Keep, the estate acquired by her cousin, a cruel and ruthless man. Only her affection for the tiny girl he claims is his daughter stops her from fleeing. Then a mysterious woodcarver arrives at the castle, and she cannot stop thinking--or longing--for him . . .

James Drummond, once a laird, now an outcast, wants what was stolen from him--his good name, his lands, and his child. His disguise for getting into Dunncraig is step one of his plan, but the enticing raven-haired woman who cares for his daughter is an unwelcome surprise. For he has come seeking justice, not love . . .

Laird James Drummond was accused of murdering his wife three years ago.  He’s been on the run since then and he’s decided that enough is enough.  He needs to get into his keep and find out what really happened.  The man who took his keep from him is Donnell McKay and he’s evil. His cousin, Annora MacKay, is there to take care of Donnell’s child, but she has a feeling that all is not right in what her cousin says about the child being his.

James disguises himself as a black-haired Frenchman who does woodworking.  He wants to do such a good job that Donnell will invite him to stay in the keep and that way James will be able to be near his daughter and find out the info he needs.  He didn’t plan on falling for Annora, but he does.  James has to eventually come clean to Annora about who he is, and when he does, she agrees to help him bring Donnell down.

I really liked this book when I read it back in 2014.  This re-read was not quite as enchanting.  In fact, I thought it was just ok.  There were so many times that I rolled my eyes about things, it got a little old.

First James’s disguise was ridiculous.  How did he ever think this was a good idea?  He was only gone for three years – even with a black wig, how would no one recognize him?  I find that hard to believe.  Then there’s how easy he got into the castle.  Look, I understand that Donnell was completely full of himself and absolutely sure that he could take all comers, but he knew the new woodworker for about a minute and a half and invited him in.  Annora’s “ability” was another issue.  I seriously had to go back to figure out when they’d mentioned it.  It was so very small and not at all like the rest of the Murray clan’s abilities.  I thought it was just a stretch.

The daughter was cute and I liked her a lot but that couldn’t hold the story for me.  I wasn’t engaged in the book, or the romance and I struggled to finish it.  The story dragged and I couldn’t find the my happy place while reading.  I know everyone is different, so you should probably read this one for yourself.  Like I said, I really liked it the first time around so you might too.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Murray Family

two-stars


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